By Floyd Godfrey, LPC, CSAT candidate
“How can I help him with the pornography addiction?” This is one of the most common questions I am asked as a professional counselor. The question comes from pastors, wives, friends, fathers and others who simply cares. You want to help, but you’re just unsure what you can possibly do.
There is something you can do that is extremely helpful, but remember that the problem is not a simple one. By the time someone becomes addicted to pornography, many changes have occurred. Their psyche has moved into a place of using porn as a way of escape or relief. The brain has been rewiring itself in ways that pornography triggers become automatic and intense. The biochemistry of the body has changed, and the person becomes accustomed to elevated levels of certain neurotransmitters.
All these changes require hard work to change. The process isn’t quick, and typically requires time. Most who are struggling to overcome pornography addiction will need clinical intervention, spiritual guidance, and social support.
So what can you do? The most effective way of helping is to show unconditional support! This has an impact on the struggler that will run very deep into his healing process. It helps diminish any toxic shame that he may be feeling, which perpetuates the problem. It also encourages him to come out of hiding and start sharing. Isolation is the lifeblood of addiction, so the more he talks the better he will do.
Be careful when showing support that you do not move into giving unsolicited advice. Unless he asks for advice, this typically results in the struggler feeling judged. Eventually he may start pulling away and stop sharing with you. Additionally, showing disdain or expressing disgust over his problem will cause him to shut down and pull away. Shame is NOT an effective tool for long-term success. You might be able to temporarily manipulate him into sobriety, but you will be unsuccessful at helping him achieve long-term recovery.
Learn to listen without judgment. Learn to express your compassion and love unconditionally. Learn to be a cheerleader and offer encouragement. Learn to avoid criticism and seek the positive. Learn to motivate without manipulation. Learn to be patient no matter how often he slips and slides. Become the kind of person he feels safe to return and continue sharing. Find peace within yourself regardless of how deep or unsafe his behaviors have become.
Finding people with whom he can get unconditional support is a necessary ingredient for recovery. If he cannot find it with you, he will need to find it elsewhere. Make sure he doesn’t have to go somewhere else to get his needs met!
We can help if someone you love needs clinical intervention for pornography addiction in Mesa Arizona. Call us for a free 15-minute consultation with a therapist who specializes in pornography addiction in Mesa, AZ: (480) 668-8301.